A documentary about pioneering cinematographer Carlo Di Palma
Put together with affection and intelligence, this documentary portrait of Italian cameraman Carlo Di Palma (who died in 2004) gives us a handle on what made him a great cinematographer. The film shows how history and family circumstances formed his outlook, and treats us to copious clips from the Neo-Realist classics he worked on as a teenage focus puller, his groundbreaking ’60s work for Antonioni, his own intriguing ’70s directorial efforts and the great finesse he brought to eleven Woody Allen features between 1986’s ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’ and 1997’s ‘Deconstructing Harry’.
Di Palma’s journey starts with a tough Roman childhood, where his dad repaired cameras at one of the film studios, travels to London where he turned parkland greener than green for ‘Blow-Up’, and ends up in Woody’s New York. The linking presence of his widow lends a personal touch, there’s TV archive footage of the man himself, while interviewees including Bernardo Bertolucci, Wim Wenders and Ken Loach attest to the high regard in which he was held, even by directors who never worked with him. A pleasure and an education.